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    Which theorist studied the power elite, and the influence they had over society?Karl MarxCarl SaganÉmile DurkheimC. Wright Mills

    The termdeviancecan be defined as:

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    Term Fall Professor Rolando Longoria Tags

    Sociology, Functionalist Mile Durkheim

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    7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance and Crime

    Introduction to Sociology 3e

    7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance and Crime

    7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance and Crime

    Learning Objectives

    By the end of this section, you should be able to:

    Describe the functionalist view of deviance in society through four sociologist’s theories

    Explain how conflict theory understands deviance and crime in society

    Describe the symbolic interactionist approach to deviance, including labeling and other theories

    Figure 7.4 Functionalists believe that deviance plays an important role in society and can be used to challenge people’s views. Protesters, such as these PETA members, often use this method to draw attention to their cause. (Credit: David Shankbone/flickr)

    Why does deviance occur? How does it affect a society? Since the early days of sociology, scholars have developed theories that attempt to explain what deviance and crime mean to society. These theories can be grouped according to the three major sociological paradigms: functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory.

    Functionalism

    Sociologists who follow the functionalist approach are concerned with the way the different elements of a society contribute to the whole. They view deviance as a key component of a functioning society. Strain theory, social disorganization theory, and cultural deviance theory represent three functionalist perspectives on deviance in society.

    Émile Durkheim: The Essential Nature of Deviance

    Émile Durkheim believed that deviance is a necessary part of a successful society. One way deviance is functional, he argued, is that it challenges people’s present views (1893). For instance, when Black students across the United States participated in sit-ins during the civil rights movement, they challenged society’s notions of segregation. Moreover, Durkheim noted, when deviance is punished, it reaffirms currently held social norms, which also contributes to society (1893). Seeing a student given detention for skipping class reminds other high schoolers that playing hooky isn’t allowed and that they, too, could get detention.

    Durkheim’s point regarding the impact of punishing deviance speaks to his arguments about law. Durkheim saw laws as an expression of the “collective conscience,” which are the beliefs, morals, and attitudes of a society. “A crime is a crime because we condemn it,” he said (1893). He discussed the impact of societal size and complexity as contributors to the collective conscience and the development of justice systems and punishments. For example, in large, industrialized societies that were largely bound together by the interdependence of work (the division of labor), punishments for deviance were generally less severe. In smaller, more homogeneous societies, deviance might be punished more severely.

    Robert Merton: Strain Theory

    Sociologist Robert Merton agreed that deviance is an inherent part of a functioning society, but he expanded on Durkheim’s ideas by developing strain theory, which notes that access to socially acceptable goals plays a part in determining whether a person conforms or deviates. From birth, we’re encouraged to achieve the “American Dream” of financial success. A person who attends business school, receives an MBA, and goes on to make a million-dollar income as CEO of a company is said to be a success. However, not everyone in our society stands on equal footing. That MBA-turned-CEO may have grown up in the best school district and had means to hire tutors. Another person may grow up in a neighborhood with lower-quality schools, and may not be able to pay for extra help. A person may have the socially acceptable goal of financial success but lack a socially acceptable way to reach that goal. According to Merton’s theory, an entrepreneur who can’t afford to launch their own company may be tempted to embezzle from their employer for start-up funds.

    Merton defined five ways people respond to this gap between having a socially accepted goal and having no socially accepted way to pursue it.

    Conformity: Those who conform choose not to deviate. They pursue their goals to the extent that they can through socially accepted means.

    Innovation: Those who innovate pursue goals they cannot reach through legitimate means by instead using criminal or deviant means.

    Ritualism: People who ritualize lower their goals until they can reach them through socially acceptable ways. These members of society focus on conformity rather than attaining a distant dream.

    Retreatism: Others retreat and reject society’s goals and means. Some people who beg and people who are homeless have withdrawn from society’s goal of financial success.

    Rebellion: A handful of people rebel and replace a society’s goals and means with their own. Terrorists or freedom fighters look to overthrow a society’s goals through socially unacceptable means.

    Social Disorganization Theory

    Developed by researchers at the University of Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, social disorganization theory asserts that crime is most likely to occur in communities with weak social ties and the absence of social control. An individual who grows up in a poor neighborhood with high rates of drug use, violence, teenage delinquency, and deprived parenting is more likely to become engaged in crime than an individual from a wealthy neighborhood with a good school system and families who are involved positively in the community.

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    Sociology Ch. 7 Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards terms like Which theorist studied the power elite, and the influence they had over society? a. Karl Marx b. Carl Sagan c. Émile Durkheim d. C. Wright Mills, Bernie Madoff, recently sentenced to 150 years in prison for creating a ponzi scheme which caused clients to lose millions of dollars, engaged in which form of crime? a. Street crime b. Corporate crime c. Violent crime d. Institutional crime, The term secondary deviance can be defined as: a. When positive formal sanctions cause an individual to deviate from society's expectations. b. When a violation of norms does not result in any long-term effects on the individual's self-image or interactions with others. c. When negative informal sanctions encourage an individual to seek more positive behavioral choices. d. When a person's self-concept and behavior begin to change after his or her actions are labeled as deviant by members of society. and more.

    Sociology Ch. 7

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    Which theorist studied the power elite, and the influence they had over society?

    a. Karl Marx b. Carl Sagan c. Émile Durkheim d. C. Wright Mills

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    C. Wright Mills

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    Bernie Madoff, recently sentenced to 150 years in prison for creating a ponzi scheme which caused clients to lose millions of dollars, engaged in which form of crime?

    a. Street crime b. Corporate crime c. Violent crime

    d. Institutional crime

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    Street Crime

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    Terms in this set (10)

    Which theorist studied the power elite, and the influence they had over society?

    a. Karl Marx b. Carl Sagan c. Émile Durkheim d. C. Wright Mills C. Wright Mills

    Bernie Madoff, recently sentenced to 150 years in prison for creating a ponzi scheme which caused clients to lose millions of dollars, engaged in which form of crime?

    a. Street crime b. Corporate crime c. Violent crime

    d. Institutional crime

    Street Crime

    The term secondary deviance can be defined as:

    a. When positive formal sanctions cause an individual to deviate from society's expectations.

    b. When a violation of norms does not result in any long-term effects on the individual's self-image or interactions with others.

    c. When negative informal sanctions encourage an individual to seek more positive behavioral choices.

    d. When a person's self-concept and behavior begin to change after his or her actions are labeled as deviant by members of society.

    When a person's self-concept and behavior begin to change after his or her actions are labeled as deviant by members of society.

    Jake receives a promotion at his law firm after winning an important case. This is an example of a:

    a. Positive informal sanction

    b. Negative informal sanction

    c. Positive formal sanction

    d. Negative formal sanction

    Positive formal sanction

    Social control is:

    a. An arrangement of practices and behaviors on which society's members base their daily lives.

    b. A system that has the authority to make decisions based on law.

    c. A label that describes the chief characteristic of an individual.

    d. The regulation and enforcement of norms.

    The regulation and enforcement of norms.

    As of 2008, how many adults in the United States are in jail or prison?

    a. 1 in 1000 b. 1 in 500 c. 1 in 100 d. 1 in 10 1 in 100

    What is the difference between a violent crime and a hate crime?

    a. A violent crime is based on a person's race, religion, or other characteristics.

    b. A violent crime is punishable in a court of law; a hate crime is not.

    c. A hate crime is punishable in a court of law; a violent crime is not.

    d. A hate crime is based on a person's race, religion, or other characteristics.

    A hate crime is based on a person's race, religion, or other characteristics.

    Functionalist Émile Durkheim believed some deviance within society was:

    a. Necessary; it challenged people's views.

    b. Dangerous; it encouraged disruptive behavior.

    c. Insignificant; deviance within society is largely ignored.

    d. Instrumental; it encouraged the population to rebel.

    Necessary; it challenged people's views.

    In first grade, Scott is unfairly singled out by his teacher for bad behavior, partly because his older brothers had behavioral problems themselves. Throughout grade school, Scott gains a reputation as a "problem" child. Scott eventually drops out of school, thinking he was born to fail anyway. Which school of thought best fits Scott's experience?

    a. Strain theory b. Control theory

    c. Differential association

    d. Labeling theory Labeling Theory

    The term deviance can be defined as:

    a. The act of notifying authorities when criminal acts are occurring.

    b. A violation of established contextual, cultural, or social norms, whether folkways, mores, or codified law.

    c. Social reward for the violation of norms.

    d. The regulation and enforcement of norms.

    A violation of established contextual, cultural, or social norms, whether folkways, mores, or codified law.

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